A Guide to Investing in Graphene Stocks

You’ll often hear us use the term “trying to find the next Microsoft” which refers to investors who are looking for that one exciting get-rich-quick stock as opposed to doing it the slow and boring way with multiple stocks. Warren Buffet didn’t accumulate his wealth investing in exciting stocks, it’s the boring old dividend growth stocks that will make you wealthy. Still, we always find people gravitating towards the big exciting stories – like graphene.

Over the years, we’ve written around 30 articles looking at graphene companies across the globe. Today, we’re going to summarize all these pieces into a single guide to investing in graphene based on what we learned researching the topic over the past seven years.

What is Graphene?

In 2004, two scientists from the University of Manchester, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, discovered a novel carbon-based nanoparticle called graphene for which they received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. In order to produce graphene, you start with graphite, and then peel off a single layer of carbon atoms.

Credit: ResearchGate

The inventors of graphene actually placed adhesive tape over graphite to peel off layers of graphene, but the process is more complicated than that if you wish to produce a uniform product.

Once you have produced graphene, you then have a material with some remarkable properties:

  • Strength: If you had a layer of graphene as thick as saran wrap, it would take a full-grown elephant standing on a pencil to puncture the layer.
  • Current Density: Graphene can carry more electricity, more efficiently, faster and with more precision than any other material.
  • Hardness: Graphene is harder than a diamond
  • Flexibility: Graphene can be stretched by up to 20% without incurring any damage
  • Impermeable: Graphene is the most impermeable material ever discovered. Even helium atoms cannot squeeze through it.
  • Thermal conductivity: Graphene is better at conducting heat than any other known material
  • Weight: Graphene is the thinnest and lightest material in existence

Around 2013, investors started to become aware of the potential for graphene and everyone seemed to conclude that investing in graphene was the way forward. One way some people claimed we could invest in graphene was through graphite mining.

Investing in Graphene Through Graphite Mining

Over the years we have seen a proliferation of graphite mining companies that claim they’re going to become vertically integrated graphene producers. Our first article on this topic involved two companies – Lomiko Metals and Graphene 3d Labs. Lomiko’s share price enjoyed a +170% increase when they announced their intent to supply graphene for “graphite 3D printing” to Graphene 3D Labs. The management teams at these two companies strongly disagreed with us when we said Graphite Miners are Not a Play on Graphene, and openly challenged us for months. Maybe that time would have been better spent developing their businesses. Today, Lomiko Metals has a market cap of less than $2.5 million. Graphene 3D Labs didn’t fare much better. After a name change to G6 Materials Corp, their market cap sits at around $5.25 million. If you bought shares in this piece of crap (that’s a technical term we like to use to describe a company that just raises money based on promises and never accomplishes anything) when it began trading in the United States, you would have lost -96% of your investment – so far.

Other graphite-miners-cum-graphene-producers that blew up spectacularly include American Graphite Technologies stock and Focus Graphite Stock which have lost -93% and -87% respectively since we warned our readers about them. Those investments probably fared better than anyone who purchased shares in Next Graphite, a company that went from selling jewelry to producing graphene. That’s almost as bad as going from selling palm oil to manufacturing graphene.

Another interesting case is Mason Graphite, a publicly traded graphite junior mining company, that funded a graphene startup called NanoXplore. From our article four years ago:

NanoXplore is a graphene producer like many we have covered before. As of February this year, their graphene production facility was in full operation with a capacity of 3 metric tons per year. NanoXplore claims that this is the largest graphene production capacity in Canada and, outside of China, one of the 5 largest in the world. 

Credit: Nanalyze

In 2019, Mason Graphite sold their interest in NanoXplore for around $28 million. Now, NanoXplore trades as an over-the-counter stock with miniscule revenues. As we’ve told our readers time and again, avoid all OTC stocks – also called penny stocks – like the plague that they are.

We can assume that you need a source of quality graphite to produce quality graphene, but the real value is in producing a graphene product that you can commercialize. Ever since the first graphene product was commercialized – a graphene ink from Vorbeck – graphene producers can’t seem to find a way to create value other than producing some over-priced bike wheels or crowdfunded supercapacitors for smartphones. If we can’t manage to commercialize any graphene-enabled products at scale, then the entire investing thesis breaks down, which kind of explains where we’re at today with graphene.

Investing in Graphene Producers

The First Graphene Stock to IPO

The first proper graphene company to have an IPO (initial public offering) was Applied Graphene Materials (AGM:LN) which has done nothing but crash and burn ever since then. The reason for this is a problem that afflicts graphene producers in general – an inability to generate revenues:

AGM Basic Financials – Credit: Yahoo Finance

Less than two months after AGM first offered their shares to the public, their market cap breached $100 million as investors bid shares up nearly +80% on hype alone. If those same investors still held their shares today, they’d have lost -90% of their value as AGM’s market cap sits at around $10 million today. We continue to ask the same questions we did back then. Where are the revenues?

Lots of Graphene Producers, Little Revenues

In 2017, four years had passed since the days of graphene hype so we did an update on graphene stocks and then again we updated our readers on graphene stocks in 2019, two years later. That article was aptly titled The Long Road to Graphene Commercialization, and here are the stocks we covered:

  • Applied Graphene Materials – Still, no meaningful revenues. Losses are trending in the wrong direction.
  • Directa Plus – Targeting environmental applications and textiles. Making some traction with 2019 revenue at around $3 million.
Directa Plus Basic Financials (in Euros) — Credit: Yahoo Finance
  • Haydale Graphene Industries – This company’s share price has been decimated giving them a present-day market cap of under $6 million. They can’t grow revenues, but they sure can grow losses.
Haydale’s Basic Financials – Credit: Yahoo Finance
  • Versarien PLC – Yearly revenues were headed in the right direction until growth stalled in 2019. Volatile shares and lots of investor interest in this company which may show the most promise out of all graphene producers we’ve looked at. Why? One word. Revenues.
Versarien’s Basic Financials – Credit: Yahoo Finance

Throughout the years, we’ve also looked at other graphene producers that aren’t publicly traded. These include:

  • Xolve – Last funding round raised in 2015 with some decent investors backing them. No news from the company (per the news release section of their site) since 2013. Said to be operating in stealth mode.
  • Perpetuus – Welsh company working on adding graphene to bike tires. Large production capabilities, but everyone is producing graphene these days. Can they move beyond niche sporting applications? Last year they partnered with our next company.
  • XG Sciences – The last press release on their website talks about some graphene hockey sticks. Again with the niche sporting applications? How about some revenue growth that looks like a hockey stick, not like this:
XG Sciences Latest 10-K Filing
  • Angstron Materials – Last disclosed funding round in 2016. Claims to have largest global production capacity and the first graphene patent with the most graphene-related intellectual property (426 patents).

Selling bulk graphene doesn’t appear to be the way forward. Creating graphene products to target large markets like energy storage or composites is where we might see the sort of exponential growth investors want to see with disruptive nanomaterials like graphene.

Graphene Stocks vs. Graphite Stocks

Something else we noticed when graphene was being hyped were publicly traded companies that dealt with graphite starting to slip in mentions of graphene in their investment decks. Wall Street pundits didn’t help, as many times it was the analysts who made the suggestion that because they worked in graphite, they could also be considered a play on graphene.

In 2015, someone on Seeking Alpha posted a piece titled “Aixtron Is The Top Stock In The Graphene Industry.” We responded with a piece that describes why Aixtron is Not a Graphene Stock just because they sell chemical vapor deposition (CVD) equipment. The same holds true for CVD Equipment Corporation.

Another company mentioned by many as a possible pure-play in graphene was GrafTech (NYSE:GTI), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbon and graphite products. We talked about why GrafTech is not a graphene stock. At least they never sold out by plastering the word graphene all over their investor decks like others did.

Your Graphene Company Goes Here

As a result of publishing this guide, we’re likely to hear from companies that produce graphite or graphene or whatever it is they claim to do that relates to the “investing in graphene” thesis. One such company hit us up a few weeks ago, asking us if we knew of them. We said we did. They then said “what do you need from us?” as if we’re going to subject our readers to yet another “we used to mine graphite and now we’re going to commercialize graphene” investment thesis.

If you’re a company that’s involved in graphene, you need to show investors the money. That means you need to have meaningful revenues and consistent quarterly revenue growth tied to the sale of commercial products or services that relate to graphene. Investors are tired of promises. Yes, we know that once you start showing strong revenue growth, your shares will be priced at a premium. We’re fine with that. What we’ve grown tired of are companies with weak share prices that continue to over-promise and under-deliver.

There are dozens of "nano stocks" out there, but we're only holding six. Become a Nanalyze Premium annual subscriber to find out which ones and why.

13 thoughts on “A Guide to Investing in Graphene Stocks
  1. Graphene 3D Lab Inc. has received and successfully assembled an industrial-scale thermoplastic extruder line to be used in the production of conductive graphene filament. The equipment, which has a production capacity of up to 10 kilograms per hour of 3-D printer filament, is now operational and has been tested for the production of specialty filaments.

    The installation of an industrial-scale extruder in first quarter of 2015 is in line with the milestones established in the company’s business plan. Sales of conductive graphene filament are expected to begin before the end of the first quarter of 2015.

    New Graphene Development:

    Graphene 3D chief executive officer Daniel Stolyarov commented: “The Graphene 3D team has worked tirelessly to begin commercial production of our materials. We are excited to now be making the transition from developing the materials in our research lab to beginning industrial-scale production and moving forward to revenue generation. I am personally looking forward to offering our filaments to customers and to receiving their feedback on our products. Graphene 3D plans to continue expansion of production capacity in the near future, as we anticipate growing demand for our materials.”

  2. This is really interesting. I have access to Flaky Graphite deposits in two African countries, and I’m looking for an investor. Concessions already secured. Even Graphite buyers can contact me. We can offer on the basis of FOB.

    Thank you,
    Martin Titus

    1. Hi Martin,

      The whole premise of the article was that investing in graphite is not a play on graphene. We couldn’t think of anything more risky to do with our money right now than investing in African mining companies.

  3. You really seem to not have any understanding in the actual realities of the production of graphene or the timeline it is on in terms of any of that. They are only now, in 2020, just getting a real grip on the proper production of graphene in any useful form so obviously no one seriously expected it to have picked up as a wonder material just yet. The fact that you sell it short as some past hype in this article is disappointing and extremely ignorant. The actual pickup of graphene as a mainstream material will happen in 2022. From 2025-2030 it will start ending up in every product and we’ll start seeing the subtle revolution that the material has promised. This article is a serious disservice to people looking for information in investing in the material.

    1. Let’s hope you are right because promises and three bucks won’t you get a coffee at Starbucks these days. And what pure-plays do you like for those graphene investors who want to skate where the graphene puck will be?

    1. Es posible, pero solomente in Ingles. Espanol es mui poquito y solo para mujeres hermosas. Por ejemplo, “me gusta tu cuerpo. Ven a mi dormitorio.” That sort of witty banter.

      We advise you to stay far far far away from GGG: https://www.nanalyze.com/2014/08/is-graphene-3d-labs-a-40-million-company/

      That same advise holds true today. Stay away from this junk.

      BTW, we are publishing our yearly piece on graphene in (checks watch) about five hours from now.

  4. Thank you for what appears to be an honest look at a great potential “disrupter” that has had hype far exceed it’s application thus far! I suppose it should be of no surprise to investors in get rich quick schemes that there are numerous companies fibbing to get those investment dollars. Greed begets greed. Who would have thought?

    1. Cheers Deron. We’ve been following this story since it emerged and want so badly for this miracle material to finally realize its potential.

  5. Sure you could.
    But if you love Bitcoin and “Altcoin,” you’ll just love these one-in-a-million Tulip Bulbs. I just found a source for.”
    “I can’t tell you, but they are going FAST. Get your order in now before it’s too late!”
    “I’m telling you, these are the next Salt.”

    1. Tulip bulbs did you say? We only buy things that we hear lots of celebrities talking about because we prefer to take our investment advice from people who spend their lives pretending to be someone they’re not.

      We’re only interested in your tulip bulbs if we can buy them on margin so there’s a possibility of erasing all our wealth. Hero or zero baby.

  6. My experience with graphen stocks is negative.
    Versarien was performing very well, but eventually it also got into negative territory ..

    1. The whole lot of graphene stocks haven’t been able to realize meaningful revenue growth yet. (We define meaningful as more than $10 million a year.) That’s the problem here.

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